International sporting events aren’t usually a place you’ll find video game characters, but last night during the closing ceremony of Rio’s 2016 Olympic Games, the virtual world collided with the physical in sensational style.
The next Olympics, which take place in four years time, will be held in Japan — and as part of the handover tradition, the next host nation briefly showcased it’s country’s sporting talent, as well as some of its most widely recognized exports.
The sleek, futuristic trailer that presented athletes demonstrating their sporting prowess against a stunning Tokyo backdrop featured iconic characters like Pac-Man and Hello Kitty. But the best of all was saved for last.
During the trailer, audiences were shown Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, in the back of a car — worried he wouldn’t make it to the ceremony in time, before a feat of cleaver editing showed him transform into Mario and use a warp pipe to travel from Tokyo to Rio where the ceremony was being held.
In spectacular fashion Mr. Abe then emerged through the warp pipe onto the stage dressed in the iconic plumber’s trademark red overalls and cap.
The complete video can be seen below. Fingers crossed for more gaming icons to make an appearance at the country’s opening ceremony in 2020.
The Nintendo mascot is of course no stranger to the Olympics, starring in a number of Olympic-inspired games with the most recent — Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games — named the official video game of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.